Our Family

Our Family

Saturday, April 29, 2017

April Nature Seekers 4 H Meeting

One of the county contests we do every year is B Day and it stands for Bait Casting, Bicycles, and BB Shooting.  A couple of girls from my club have never participated in this contest before, so I thought it would be a good idea to have a meeting covering at least part of the contest.  I can't teach the BB shooting part, and the bicycle is just practicing riding a course, so I chose Bait Casting.  For the Bait casting part they have to take a test identifying certain fish and fish anatomy, and cast their fishing poles into the center of a ring.

So first we worked on fish ID.  I used the Beginning Fishing book and Arkansas Sports Fish booklet from Game and Fish for the children to look up the fish in. Cloverbuds and Juniors only have to ID 5 fish: crappie, trout, catfish. bigmouth bass, and a bream.  Seniors have to do 10. 

Then we looked at the different parts of a fish (on a diagram I did not bring any live fish!)

After that we worked on casting.  Alex was a big help demonstrating to all of the children how to properly cast their poles. 

Since we were at the park by the nature trail we of course had to walk it one time.  We did not see anything especially exciting but it is a nice walk and it was a pretty day to be walking!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Drive Thru History®

Drive Thru History
Drive Thru History® is a video series that brings history to life. Dave Stotts, the host, doesn't just talk about people and places in history, he takes the viewer on a road trip to see the places he is talking about.  Over the last several weeks we have had an opportunity to travel back in time and follow the life of the most influential person that ever lived, Jesus Christ, through Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”.

Drive Thru History The Gospels

Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, has 18 episodes divided onto 3 DVDs with each episode lasting around 30 minutes each.  During the course of these DVDs you will visit many of the places that you read about in the Gospels and learn about the history, geography, archaeology, culture, and art, during the time of the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  You will travel to over 50 sites in ancient Israel as Dave takes you through the gospel accounts. 

Also included is a 118 page illustrated study guide. The study guide is attached to the hardcover CD case which when closed looks like a Bible. The guide has a section for each of the episodes that includes: a summary of the episode, quotes, discussion questions, reading assignment, and side road information.  There are no answer keys in the study guide, it is just intended to get a discussion going.  The illustrations and photographs in the study guide are beautiful!  The side road information gives interesting information on a topic related to what is covered. 

The DVDs contain the following episodes:

Episode 1: The Historical Landscape
Episode 2: The Announcements
Episode 3: Jesus is Born
Episode 4: Jesus Grows Up
Episode 5: Jesus Starts His Ministry
Episode 6: Jesus Returns to Galilee
Episode 7: Jesus Begins His Miracles
Episode 8: Jesus Teaches with Authority
Episode 9: The Sermon on the Mount
Episode 10: Jesus Travels the Sea of Galilee
Episode 11: Jesus Travels North
Episode 12: A Final Trip to Jerusalem
Episode 13: Jesus Arrives in Jerusalem
Episode 14: The Last Supper
Episode 15: The Trial of Jesus
Episode 16: The Crucifixion of Jesus
Episode 17: The Resurrection of Jesus
Episode 18: Who is Jesus?

We had heard of Drive Thru History®, but had never seen it before. This year our Bible lesson has focused on the book of Matthew and I thought "The Gospels" would go along very well with that.  But anytime would be a good time to watch and learn from these DVDs. I have been watching 2-3 episodes per week with my 6,8,10,11, 13, and 15 year olds.

We LOVE Drive Thru History®-" The Gospels!" It is fascinating, informative, and entertaining.  I love how it brings the places we have had about in the Bible to life.  It also gives a lot of cultural and political information about things that were going on in that time period that you may not know about.  Dave Stotts is a very entertaining host whose quirky actions and humor keeps the attention of all my children but at the same time has a seriousness about him and the topics he is covering which is appropriate.  My boys love it when he jokes about his ride and especially when he made BBQ while driving!
Drive Thru History The Gospels

Drive Thru History®-" The Gospels" follows the life of Jesus of Jesus Christ chronologically.  They use accounts in the Scripture along with reliable historical sources.  As Dave is quoting from Scripture or from another source, often the words and reference come across the screen for you to read for yourself.  As Dave is talking we often have the view of the ruins or scenery in the location he is talking about, or beautiful artwork, or maps.  There is so much history and information given and it is so cool to be able to put the images of the places with the words that we have read in the Bible.

Drive Thru History The Gospels

I mentioned above that I watched this with children ranging from 6-15.  I did not allow my 6 and 8 year olds to watch Episode 16 The Crucifixion of Jesus.  Dave explains all that would have had happened to Jesus and they show part of a live production of the crucifixion of Jesus.  If you are watching this series with younger children, I would preview this episode first. 

I have got to buy more Drive Thru History® for my family! In addition to Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, they also have a series on American History, The Holy Land, and Ancient History. 

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 30

I am starting this post with some random things from this week.  Our chicks are doing well and are about 10 days old.  They have grown a lot of feathers on their wings and have started to get tail feather.  They figured out how to get to the perch the boys put in their cage.

We purchased two more rabbits this week.  We had a few die last year (one we had had for almost 6 years.)  The children wanted something besides the New Zealands that most people raise around here for meat.  We were able to find a mini lop and rex right down the road from us.  The lady that sold them to us had a ton of rabbits and more breeds of rabbits then I have ever seen in one place before. I wished I had taken my phone in there with us (it was in the van) because she even had a Flemish giant and took it out of the cage to show the kids.  It was huge!  The new bunnies names are Snowball and Droopy.

Anthony made a constellation of Orion from this month's Tinker Crate.

Alex got up Saturday morning and asked if he could use some tools in the shop to make a knife.  He has been interested in knives for a long time and has several pocket knives.  He watched some YouTube videos and worked on the blade most of the day. 

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 30

P.E.: I've created monsters!  They wanted to run every day this week (except for one child that prefers not to do any physical activity at all) so we did.

Bible: We finished reading the book of Matthew earlier then planned so we moved on to start reading the book of Mark.

Poetry: Continued working on Fog by Carl Sandburg.  Lily wrote a poem a few weeks ago that I forgot to share.  It is called I Love to Write a Poem

I am writing this poem because it is mine.
I am good at checking the clock ,
I am good at checking the time.
I love to play a board game,
I play one all the time.
I will say this once or twice,
I am writing this poem because it is nice.

Read Aloud: We finished reading Kingdom Tales for our morning read aloud.  We are still reading the Shepherd, Potter, Spy, and the Star Namer in the afternoon.  I think we have 16 chapters left.  In the evening we are reading the Search for Everyman.

E.C.C: We started and finished Australia this week.  In the science portion we read about coral reefs.

History: We watched four episodes of Drive Thru History and completed our timeline and lapbook of Passport Ancient Greece.  I feel bad that we didn't do any other projects to go with this study but we just didn't get to them.

There is a mini book missing from this page.  We made it, I just don't know where it went!

Art: We did an ArtAchieve Lesson on the Elephant from Ghana.

Language Arts: Lily did 3 lessons in Eclectic Foundations B.  Christian and Anthony completed 3 lessons in Readers in Residence.

Spelling/Reading: The boys completed Step 6 in AAS Level 4.  I did not do AAR with Lily this week.

Math: Nick is on the last lesson of MUS Geometry.  Alex completed 4 lessons in Teaching Textbooks 7.  The others completed 4 lessons in MLFLE.

Nature Study: Our nature study topic was caterpillars.

MFW Creation from A to Z: Emmie finished the unit on R for Rock.

Other Activities this Week:

Monday was the 4 H Egg and Dairy contest.  Soccer was cancelled because fields were wet.

Tuesday was gymnastics and youth.  Soccer was cancelled because the fields were wet.

Wednesday was Kid's Club.

Thursday was soccer.  Both games were supposed to be at 6, but one was postponed, so Christian played at 6 and Alex at 7.  Art had his last Thursday night class for his job.  I am so glad he will be getting home before 9:00 pm on Thursday nights now.

Friday we met some friends at the park to play and had lunch there. Afterwards we went grocery shopping and that night was our usual Pizza and a movie.

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Virtual Fridge: The Elephant from Ghana

This week for our art lesson we did another lesson from Level 2 of ArtAchieve, the Elephant from Ghana.  We needed paper and markers for this lesson and it took around an hour to complete.




I'm not sure what Emmie did with hers, but she did do one.  Anthony's is black because he was trying to show that the elephant was in shadow from the setting sun.

Linking up here.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

4 H Egg and Dairy Contest

Monday night was our county 4 H Egg and Dairy Contest.  In this contest you can choose to make a party idea or main dish in either or both of the categories of Egg and Dairy.  Children ages 5-19 can participate in the contest.  Ages 5-8 are cloverbuds, 9-13 are juniors, and 14-19 are seniors.  I had 6 children participating in the contest this year.

Emmie made two dishes.  She made an ice cream pie and a ham and egg pie.  She won 1st place in the Cloverbud Dairy Party Idea Category and 2nd place in the Cloverbud Egg Main Dish Category.

Lily also made two dishes.  She won 2nd place in the Cloverbud Party Idea category with her Oreo Cookie Balls and 3rd place in the Egg Party Idea for egg salad sandwiches.

Christian made one dish.  He won 1st place in the Junior Party Idea Dairy Contest with his Oreo Cream Pie.  His pie was also the Overall Winner for the Party Idea Category.  That means his recipe will be submitted to the state contest.  They only choose 4 recipes from across the state.  If his recipe is chosen he will go to Little Rock in June and make his recipe in front of the judges and serve it to them.

Anthony made French Toast.  He won 1st place in the Junior Egg Main Dish Category.

Alex made one dish.  He made Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream and won 2nd place in the Junior Party Idea Category.

Nick made shells and cheese.  He won first place in the Senior Dairy Main Dish Category.

I was very proud of all of their hard work!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Readers in Residence Vol 1 (Sleuth)

Apologia Educational Ministries
Apologia Educational Ministries is well known in the homeschool community for their science and Bible curriculum, but they also have many other resources.  We have used many products from Apologia over the years and have been impressed with all of them.  Our latest review item is one of their newest products, Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth).

Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in Residence

Debra Bell, the best selling author of The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling teens, and The Ultimate Planners has taught literature and composition for over 30 years.  Last year, we had an opportunity to review her language arts curriculum, Writers in Residence, and this year her latest project Readers in Residence was released.  These two products can be used together or individually.

Readers in Residence Vol 1 ($89) is intended to be used with children in the 4-6th grade age range, but also could be used with students who are a little older. It comes with a teacher's guide and a combined consumable student text and workbook. The purpose of Readers in Residence is to teach children to appreciate and understand what they read and to filter what they read through a Biblical lens. It is a reading comprehension, literature, and vocabulary program during which students will create several projects to show what they have learned. Some of the things covered in this course include: teaching children how to recognize different literary elements and broaden their vocabulary, to learn different figures of speech, and to decode words that are unfamiliar.  They will also learn to understand why writers make some of the choices they do and why it is important for them to use understood  grammar rules to make their writing clear to readers.
There are 6 units in Readers in Residence Vol 1:

  • Unit 1: Sarah, Plain and Tall
  • Unit 2: On Your Own Historical Fiction
  • Unit 3: Charlotte's Web
  • Unit 4: On Your Own Animal Fantasy
  • Unit 5: Because of Winn-Dixie
  • Unit 6: On Your Own Choice

Each unit is broken down into several different modules. There is a suggested daily schedule to follow in the front of the student book.  If you follow this schedule, you will work on RIR 4 days a week for 32 weeks.  There is also a suggestion to do a book club to share with others about the books you are reading. 

The Readers in Residence Vol 1 student text and workbook is a full color, spiral bound 562 page book.  This book contains all of the text written to the student, reading schedule, rubics and checklists, plus workbook pages to answer comprehension and vocabulary questions, fill in charts, and draw pictures.  The back of the book has a dictionary, glossary, and an appendix containing a sleuth's log, character map, and storyboard template.

The  Answer Key is a 232 page paperback book.  It contains answers and sample answers for the activities from the student workbook.  It does not have answers for unit projects or open ended assignments.  Student samples for these are provided in the student workbook. The answer key also has teaching instructions, tips, and suggestions for grading.

I have been using Readers in Residence with my 4th and 5th grade boys for the last several weeks.  One review copy was provided to us and I purchased another of the All-In-One Student Text and Workbooks.  The timing of the review for RIR was absolutely perfect for us because the boys had just finished the last level in our guided reading curriculum and I wanted to continue to do some kind of reading program with them that went beyond teaching the skills of reading.  We have been working on RIR 3-4 days per week for around 30 minutes a day.  I read aloud the sections in the student text and workbook and they work on the assignments individually and we discuss them when they are finished. The reading selections from the book they each read on their own.  I actually had 2 copies of Sarah, Plain and Tall (the first book you read) on hand but this and the other two books used in this curriculum are easily found at the library or any bookstore.

I love that Reader's in Residence does so much more then have children answer reading comprehension questions.  There are numerous activities and exercises to help students dive deeper into what they are reading and develop and understanding for why authors do things the way they do.  We have read Sarah, Plain and Tall before, but I did it as a read aloud a few years ago and knew the boys wouldn't mind reading it again.  Plus Readers in Residence covers so much more then I did when I read the book aloud. You do not just dive straight into the book though.  First you learn about genre, what expert readers look for when they read, clues that you find on the cover, the difference between fiction and nonfiction, and what a narrative or nonnarrative text are.  They also get to look through their own bookshelves and list examples of different types of books. My boys favorite activity was to create their own book cover complete with illustration, description, and as short biography of the author.  I was very impressed with their creativity!

Once you dive into the book you are answering some comprehension questions which is a good thing to gauge your child's understanding.  You are also creating charts showing what you think the characters look like and what kind of character traits they have, along with answering some questions about yourself.  They are also answering vocabulary questions.  I like the way it asks them what they think the word means and then asks for the definition.  An added bonus is that the words they need to look up are included in the dictionary in the back of the book.

The sowing seeds section is a nice addition to your lessons.  It discusses a passage in the book and asks some thoughtful questions.  It also includes scripture references that have to do with that passage and asks questions about the scriptures and how it relates to your life.

The size of the book is a bit intimidating.  When I showed it to the boys they said, "That is the workbook?  It will take us years to finish that!"  They call it their weight lifting book.  But honestly, once you look at how each lesson is broken down and take into account that the text is part of the workbook it is not so intimidating.  I think it is very well laid out and easy to follow and I love the little boxes that you can check off after completing each lesson.  Following the included schedule makes it easy for the busy homeschool mama.

We are enjoying our study of Readers in Residence and look forward to completing future volumes as they are released.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!